Dear Fellow CCA Members:

SB 903 An Act Concerning Educational and Professional Standards for Professional Counselors is scheduled to be heard before the Public Health Committee on Monday, March 13, 2017.

This bill is a major step forward for professional counselors in Connecticut! CCA is addressing some errors/issues with the draft legislation and will include its suggested language changes in the formal CCA testimony. Overall, however, we’re excited that we’re making great progress and look forward to supporting this bill. You can read the bill at https://www.cga.ct.gov/asp/cgabillstatus/cgabillstatus.asp?selBillType=Bill&which_year=2017&bill_num=903.

We need your help! We have just one week until this important hearing. Please consider supporting this effort by:
•Submitting written testimony. Share your own story about the work you do, the clients you serve, and how this bill could positively impact you, your clients and all consumers of mental health services in Connecticut. See below some instructions for preparing written testimony. This is very easy for you to do and enormously helpful for your profession, so please act now!

•Attending the hearing. There is strength in numbers, and the committee members will note our energy and commitment to the bill. Please consider joining us in Hartford of Monday, March 13.
•Presenting oral testimony. Come to the hearing and read your 3-minute testimony to members of the community.

ANYONE CAN ATTEND AND ANYONE CAN SUBMIT TESTIMONY – WE CAN HELP YOU!

The experiences and stories of students, educators, supervisors, practitioners and members of the community are all critical to moving this bill through.

If you plan to attend and would like to testify in-person, contact Trip Hartigan at triphartigan@hotmail.com. Please also let Trip know if you have any questions about the preparation or submission of your written testimony.

As always, we thank you for your hard work and support.

CCA Executive Board

INSTRUCTIONS FOR SUBMITTING WRITTEN TESTIMONY. Please review carefully:

(i) Below is a template you can use to structure your written testimony. Legislators tend not to read testimony that appears to be form letter, so it is vital that you use your own words, font, structure, and unique story. The date in the template below is the date of the hearing. Please use that date in your submission.

(ii) You will submit your testimony (Word document or PDF) via email to phtestimony@cga.ct.gov. Please send these submissions in on THURSDAY, March 9 or FRIDAY, March 10. (We would like all of the testimony to get to the committee at the end of this week, as they are turning their attention to our Monday hearing.) When possible, please use formal letterhead. Also, please note that because of the way in which the bill was drafted by the Public Health committee, CCA is requesting that certain changes be made and will request those changes in its formal testimony. It is extremely important that you request passage of the bill with the amendment offered by the Connecticut Counseling Association.

(iii) Please also email a copy of your testimony to triphartigan@hotmail.com. This will allow the CCA to keep track of all submissions.

____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Testimony of

[NAME], [EMPLOYER/ORGANIZATION/SCHOOL]

Member of the Connecticut Counseling Association

in support of

SB 903 – AN ACT CONCERNING EDUCATIONAL AND PROFESSIONAL STANDARDS FOR PROFESSIONAL COUNSELORS

Public Health Committee, March 13, 2017

Senator Gerratana, Senator Somers, Representative Steinberg and esteemed members of the Public Health Committee, my name is [NAME] and I am [occupation] at [employer/organization] and [if applicable- member of the Connecticut Counseling Association.]

I am pleased to offer testimony in support of SB 903- An Act Concerning Educational and Professional Standards for Professional Counselors. The bill – with the incorporation of the changes as set forth in the testimony of the Connecticut Counseling Association – would strengthen and clarify academic qualifications to become a licensed professional counselor and require continuing education in ethics.

SB 903 would require training in counseling that meets the highest standards for the discipline of professional counseling: coursework required for clinical mental health counseling by the Council for the Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP). Coursework would include training in trauma and crisis counseling, addiction and substance abuse, diagnosis and treatment, and internship in counseling. These training standards are endorsed by the largest and most influential organizations in counseling, including the American Counseling Association, the National Board for Certified Counselors, the American Mental Health Counselors Association and the Association for Counselor Education and Supervision.

[Your own personal discussion about the work that you do, the clients that you treat, and how improved education and training standards and a strengthening of counselors’ professional identity will result in greater benefit to your clients and consumers of mental health services in general.]

I therefore urge the committee to support SB 903 – with the amendment offered in the testimony of the Connecticut Counseling Association – for the benefit of professional counselors and the many individuals they serve.

Respectfully,

[NAME & TITLE]

[ADDRESS]

[CONTACT INFO]